(This is part one in a series of posts on ways to get your app noticed.)
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Does your app exist if no one knows about it?
Sorry to get all philosophical on you. I’m just trying to make a point.
The point is that no one cares that you spent months building your app. No one cares if you have the best game since Fruit Ninja. No one cares if you’ve mortgaged your house so you can afford to pay the developer.
Before customers can even begin to care about your app, they need to know that it exists. And even then, that’s only half the battle.
So, let’s get right down to it. Here are the 9 promotional methods you can use to get your app noticed by users; leading to increased downloads, better app ranking, and more money!
1. Mobile Ad Networks
In-app advertising is one of the easiest ways to get your app in front of a targeted audience.
If you’ve downloaded a free app, then you’ve seen these graphical ads across either the bottom or the top of the screen (see arrows below).
The great thing about these ads is that they can be highly targeted to reach your ideal customers. The ad network delivers your ad to similar or well-matched apps to increase the chance a user will click through.
Want even more exposure? How about displaying your ad in a top-ranked app? Well, one of the top mobile ad networks, Mobclix, boasts access to more top-100 apps than anywhere else. So, if you’d like to get exposure to users of extremely popular apps, you should check Mobclix out.
What makes in-app advertising so powerful is that you are reaching target customers at a point when they are receptive to your marketing message. For example, in the Sudoku Daily app above, you see the ad for Audible.com. This particular ad network has likely determined that Sudoku Daily users might be interested in signing up for Audible.com so they serve up the ad for Audible.com. The idea is that if the networks serve up relevant ads, customer conversion will be higher. This is the power of highly-targeted promotions.
And the cost? Mobile ad networks charge on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis.
2. Incentive-Based Download Programs
Incentive-based download programs offer incentives to encourage users to download and try out other apps. Incentives may include virtual currency players can use in their current game app.
(NOTE: Apple has banned the use of incentivized downloads to promote apps in its App Store. They see this type of promotion as an attempt to manipulate the chart rankings. So, if you’re an iOS developer, you can skip this part.)
And why did Apple ban incentivized downloads? Because people download these apps to get the rewards, not to try the apps out. What happens then is you get crappy or buggy apps on top of the charts because their rankings were boosted by the incentivized downloads.
Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with incentivized downloads . . . as long as you are promoting a good app. With hundreds of thousands of apps out there, you need all the help you can get to increase your app’s visibility. So why not give customers incentives to give you a try? Apple is punishing the good developers for the sins of the bad ones. This is another reason to develop Android instead of iOS apps.
So what does incentivized advertising look like? Below are examples from one of the main players in this space, Tapjoy.
Incentive-based download programs charge on a pay-per-install basis. Cost can range from as little as $0.15 per install to as much as $0.60/install. The difference in cost per install depends on how many potential users you can reach. Some vendors only have access to a small number of users while others have greater reach, into hundreds of thousands of users.
When choosing a program, you also need to see what type of user base they have. For example, is their user base into actions games, sports games, or puzzles? Are the games targeted towards young children or adults?
Ideally, you want the user base to match the type of users you have in mind for your app. Otherwise, you will be wasting money marketing to an audience who will never use your app.
Not only can incentivized download promotions give your app a big boost in visibility, it can also increase your user base provided you have a great app to promote AND you pick the right vendor.
3. App Review Sites
Submitting your app to review sites is a great way to gain exposure to a large audience.
Since these review sites get hundreds, if not thousands of review requests, your goal is to make the reviewer’s job easier. If you make it easy for them to write a review, it will increase the chance of them reviewing your app.
So how do you make it easy for them to write a review about your app?
By giving reviewers the promotional code necessary to download your app for free (iPhone/iPad apps only). Apple gives iOS Developers 50 codes (for each version of their app) that can be used to download their apps for free. If you’re an Android developer, this does not apply to you. You can just provide the reviewer a copy of your app’s APK file.
By providing all the information an app reviewer needs to know about your app. This includes the name of your app (with a link to the app’s page on the Android Market or App Store), your contact information, developer or company name, and link to your website.
By not making reviewers guess what your app does. When submitting your app for review, include a clear description of exactly what it does and how to use it. What category does the app belong to? What type of user base is it targeting?
By having a finished and polished app ready for them to review. This seems obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, too many developers are in such a hurry to release their app that they can’t be bothered with testing, debugging, and polishing it. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
By impressing reviewers with a video presentation of your app. You don’t need a Hollywood production, just something simple and concise. Think of it as your “elevator pitch”. A reviewer is not familiar with your app and does not have the time to learn how to use it. And using a video to highlight the best features of your app will help save them time. They’ll love you for it.
And while we’re on the topic of saving time, see if you can distill the essence of your app down to one sentence. This is called a “high concept pitch”. Here are some examples of high concept pitches:
- “YouTube is Flickr for video.”
- “LinkedIn is Facebook for business.”
- “Twitter is Blogger for Attention Deficit Disorder.”
What is the one sentence that fans can use to describe your app and make it viral through word of mouth? How can you fill in the following blanks for your app? “YourApp is _________ for _________”
Now that you know how to approach an app reviewer, you’ll want to submit your app to as many review sites as possible (keeping in mind the 50 promotional codes limitation for iOS developers). I am putting together an “ultimate” list of Android and iPhone review sites. Sign up for my free email list (on the sidebar) and you’ll be the first to have access to this list.
This is part 1 of the series of posts I am writing on ways to get your app noticed. Part 2 of this series will follow shortly.